Learn more about the presenters below.

Presenter biographies are organized alphabetically by first name.

Brenda Weatherston

Brenda Weatherston

•  Tuesday, May 4, 10:30 am - 11:15 am | Now More than Ever: Community Arts and Wellbeing

Brenda Weatherston is Community Arts Specialist for the District of Saanich. Working in arts and culture in community, educational and government contexts, she believes in and sees, first-hand, the benefits of engaging in arts, culture and creativity for the wellbeing of individuals and the community. She holds a BA and MA from University of Victoria and is grateful to live, work and share within the traditional territories of the Lekwungen and W’SANEC peoples.
Carol Sheridan

Carol Sheridan

•  Tuesday, May 4, 9:30 am -10:15 am | Cracking the Outdoor Learning Code

Carol Sheridan is the Manager of Parks and Recreation in Oliver and has enjoyed a career in recreation spanning over two decades in BC including previous positions with City of Penticton, the Town of Osoyoos and Recreation Excellence. From the age of 16 she has been passionate about introducing others to outdoor adventures such as canoeing, hiking, rock climbing and snowshoeing. Her early experiences with land-based learning through the YM/YWCA led to post-secondary education in Biology / Environmental Science, leading to a fulfilling career in recreation and a lifelong love of outdoor learning.  
Chris Babcock

Chris Babcock

•  Thursday, May 6, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | PANEL: COVID Opportunity: Activating Outdoor Spaces

Chris Babcock has been the City of Kelowna's Event Development Supervisor since 2016. Chris' responsibilities include overseeing all outdoor events, film productions and other initiatives that occur on public property. In addition, Chris and his team support the development of events through a strategic framework that includes organizational development, funding assistance, and the procurement of major events that contribute to the realization of civic objectives. 
Christine Mcleod

Christine McLeod | Key Presenter

•  Tuesday, May 4, 11:30 am -12:30 pm | What is it Time For? The Magic and Logic of Leadership Post-Pandemic

 •  Wednesday, May 5, 10:30 am -12:30 pm | Increasing Our Reslience in Conflict – A Toolkit for All

Christine McLeod is the Founder of Everyday Leaders and most recently started a new venture, Rising Villages, which offers one day retreats in Squamish, BC for work gatherings and youth alike. She is a passionate and engaged leader in her community whose glass is always half full and whose possibility-filled vision for what personal leadership, thriving workplaces and resilient community looks like inspires everyone around her to do their best. Christine is a change maker, a visionary, and inspiring developer of people. The intersection of her passion, skillset and purpose is to connect others to themselves, others and their community.
Darren Peterson

Darren Peterson

•  Thursday, May 6, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | PANEL: COVID Opportunity: Activating Outdoor Spaces

Darren Peterson is an experienced recreation professional who has made it his life's work to advocate for community recreation in Vancouver so residents can be active for life and live their best. Away from work, Darren likes to stay active by playing ice hockey, softball and golf.
Dene Rossouw

Dene Rossouw

 •  Wednesday, May 5, 9:30 am -10:15 am | The Art of Mentoring

Dene Rossouw is the Principal at team Possibil. He has broad experience in helping leaders build their influence at work. He has facilitated hundreds of programs for various organizations in Africa and Canada. He is known for his ability to demystify complexity and explain processes using transferable concepts and dynamic models.
Gillian Drake

Gillian Drake

•  Thursday, May 6, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | PANEL: COVID Opportunity: Activating Outdoor Spaces

Gillian Drake is Bowen Island's Recreation Manager of Community Services. Her enthusiasm and expertise in outdoor environmental education and recreation program management has been fostered over 25 years working in Florida and BC, creating innovative experiences for children and adults. 

Jeff Willis

Jeff Willis

•  Thursday, May 6, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm | Organized Chaos: Post COVID-19 Preparation Tools and New Mindset for Recreation and Parks

As a skilled energetic facilitator, storyteller, youth worker and speaker, Jeff has spent nearly 30 years working with a variety of organizations using supportive, innovative and experiential techniques to improve team collaboration and community connections. His passion is derived from his breadth of understanding of experiential education, his various senior roles within the outdoor recreation industry, entrepreneurial endeavors and a committed community advocate.
Jess Thornbury

Jess Thornbury

•  Thursday, May 6, 9:30 am - 10:15 am | Providing Dignity: Informed Outreach in Our Parks

Jess Thornbury is the Frontline Supervisor for Victoria Cool Aid Society’s supportive housing building at 3020 Douglas, which houses adults with mental health and addictions who have experienced homelessness. Jess is a dedicated professional with over 15 years of experience delivering services to marginalized people in downtown Victoria.

Jim Mcleod

Jim McLeod

•  Thursday, May 6, 10:30 am - 11:15 am | Being a Good Guest, Honouring our Hosts, and Caring for Community

Jim McLeod (he/him/his) believes the Downtown Eastside is brimming with talent the rest of the world overlooks. He is an active community member and has served on the boards of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and the Drug Users Resource Centre. He is a current member of the Hives for Humanity Board of Directors, a founding member of the H4H Community Engagement Committee, and founder of the DTES Seed Library. He is excited about his work with Megaphone Magazine’s Speaker’s Bureau project, working with audiences and participants to help them see People Who Use Drugs as just that -- people. Jim is also a cast and research member of the Illicit Theatre project – a shadow play about peer first responders and the overdose crisis in the DTES. Jim notes that he is not a “functional addict” but that his functioning, all of his community advocacy, beekeeping and gardening, is possible because he is self-medicating with pain medication. Chemically dependent since elementary school, people are often surprised to learn that Jim has a spotless criminal record. Jim was born and raised in Vancouver and his ancestry is Açorean Portuguese on his dad’s side, and on his mother’s Haida, Kwakiutl and Inuit, with Irish and some British and French.

Jodi Mucha

Jodi Mucha

•  Tuesday, May 4, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | Building Equity into Community Engagement Processes

Jodi Mucha has a broad base of experience supporting communities to build on capacity for healthier communities both at the local and international level.  She holds a Master's Degree in Environment and Management and over 25 years of community health promotion experience.  She has a strong background in change management, community engagement and leadership. Through her work at BC Healthy Communities she provides expertise in multi-sectoral collaboration and partnerships, systems thinking,  healthy communities approach and practical approaches to understanding the links between the determinants of health.

As a hobby, Jodi runs ultra distance trail races, facilitates leadership courses and maintains her backyard garden.
Jordan Pertovics

Jordan Petrovics

•  Thursday, May 6, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | PANEL: COVID Opportunity: Activating Outdoor Spaces

Jordan Petrovics is currently the Manager of Recreation Services for the Town of Golden and has been in the position for the past nine years. Before taking on his current role, Jordan spent 14 years working at various ski resorts holding down positions in marketing, events, and media relations. During his time with the Town of Golden, Jordan has helped creatively orchestrate various parkland improvement projects with funding sourced from not-for-profit groups.  Some of the notable projects include community trail improvements, a mountain bike jump trail, 18 hole disc golf course, a paved pump track and play structure/washroom upgrades. During his panel project, Jordan will speak about Golden’s next planned park upgrade project and some of the pandemic twists that helped influence the park design.
Kristen Kvakic

Kristen Kvakic

•  Thursday, May 6, 9:30 am - 10:15 am | Providing Dignity: Informed Outreach in Our Parks

Kristen Kvakic is a Registered Social Worker and Manager within the Residential Services department of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Kristen has been working in the fields of community health, homelessness, and mental health and substance use for over a decade and has particular expertise in dignity-based engagement and practice.
Nikki Page

Nikki Page

•  Thursday, May 6, 9:30 am - 10:15 am | Providing Dignity: Informed Outreach in Our Parks

Nikki Page is the Coordinator of the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Rock Bay Landing, an emergency shelter located in Victoria BC. Nikki has worked at Rock Bay Landing in multiple roles, including Shelter Support Worker,  Front Line Supervisor and now Coordinator, for the past 5 years. Prior to working for the Victoria Cool Aid Society, Nikki was pursuing education in the medical field, but found her passion working in the social services sector with vulnerable individuals experiencing a range of challenges, including homelessness, substance use, and mental health challenges.
Patrick Ward

Patrick Ward

•  Tuesday, May 4, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | Building Equity into Community Engagement Processes

Patrick Ward is the Township of Langley's Strategic/Social Planner. He leads the Township’s social planning portfolio and assists with various community planning projects. This includes developing social policy and action plans, and collaborating with different departments and local organizations on initiatives that enhance community well-being and social equity. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Planning and a Master’s in Urban Studies. Pre-COVID, Patrick enjoyed camping, skiing, travelling, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Paul Fast

Paul Fast

•  Wednesday, May 5, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | Changing the Rules: New Approaches to Recreation Design

Paul Fast is an architect and Principal with HCMA, where he is one of the firm’s leaders in recreation facility design. He is passionate about maximizing the impact of design at all scales and enjoys working in communities both big and small. His project experience ranges from designing children’s playhouses to some of the largest recreation centres in Western Canada. Paul graduated with a Master of Architecture from UBC, and is currently working with Steve Kellock on the replacement for the Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre.
Sarah Common

Sarah Common

•  Thursday, May 6, 10:30 am - 11:15 am | Being a Good Guest, Honouring our Hosts, and Caring for Community

Sarah Common (she/her/they) is passionate about fostering vibrant and healthy community through empowerment and education, and believes in the profound impact of connecting individuals and communities to their land, food and spirit. Sarah is of Irish settler descent, an uninvited guest on these unceded lands, working to be accountable to the land and to create loving and inclusive opportunities for connection. They believe we can transform our communities into spaces that welcome and celebrate a diversity of ways of knowing and being, and that through this we grow stronger and deeper; that we are doing this work now, together, in small moments of sunshine, spring blossoms, and conversation; and that the shift we seek is possible, that in 100 years we might have communities where everyone has a house that they feel safe in, access to food, medicines and land to be on their healing journeys. Sarah is the Executive Director and one of the co-founders of Hives for Humanity Society.

Steve Kellock

Steve Kellock

•  Wednesday, May 5, 8:15 am - 9:15 am | Changing the Rules: New Approaches to Recreation Design

Steve Kellock works for the City of New Westminster as the Senior Manager, Recreation and is a Director of the BC Recreation and Parks Association Board. He has over 20 years of recreation leadership experience, including a diverse portfolio that started in Aquatics. In his current role, Steve is the staff lead for the replacement of the Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre. He has a MBA from Royal Roads University and a BSc from the University of Victoria.
Ted Hagmeier

Ted Hagmeier

•  Tuesday, May 4, 9:30 am -10:15 am | Cracking the Outdoor Learning Code

Ted Hagmeier is the Comox Recreation Director, having started in recreation as rink rat, teaching skating and working public skates. He has held recreation positions in Oak Bay, Penticton and Comox with experience in business development, and marketing. He brings experience in community partnership-building to his presentation.

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